No. 168 NAI DFA 5/88

Letter from Count Gerald O'Kelly de Gallagh to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Paris, 28 January 1933

I1 shall send you in due course a full report on the reactions here to the results of the recent General Election.2 They will not be apparent until some days after the final declaration of the Poll.

In the meantime, however, the peaceful and orderly manner in which the country went to the Polls received a considerable amount of favourable publicity here, and served to dissipate the impressions created by previous alarmists and overwritten reports of such disturbances as took place in the course of the Election campaign.

There is a general impression here that the result of the Election will involve the separation of the Irish Free State from the Commonwealth, and the declaration of an Irish Republic at an early date. The speech made by the Vice-President after the Poll was freely quoted here in this connection. It is noticeable, however, that M. Marsillac,3 who was on the spot, discounts this idea in his most recent article, drawing attention to the fact that the President had not sought a specific Mandate from the people in this connection.

Last night's 'Temps', however, in a leader on the General Election, shares the general impression and says:-

'it is to be feared that, held captive by his party and by the doctrines by means of which he has rallied to his support the most active republican elements, he (President de Valera) will be obliged to follow his policy to a conclusion and to proceed forthwith to a definite rupture with England.'

The comments of the ?Temps' on this eventuality voice, in my view, the sentiments of a very considerable section of French opinion. They are as follows:-

'It would be a very serious thing; not only for the United Kingdom, which, with an Ireland totally independent and hostile in its immediate neighbourhood and with the menace that that circumstance would constitute for Ulster and for the sea which separates the two countries, would no longer have the sentiment of absolute security, but also for the general International situation, any weakening of the power of Great Britain being likely to compromise the stability of its healthy European Policy.'

The remainder of the comments of the 'Temps' read like a Leader in the 'Morning Post' or a speech by the Secretary of State for the Dominions. They are as follows:-

'It is very much to be hoped, for the well being of Western Europe, that Mr. de Valera, in the interest of the Irish Free State itself, will realise that he could not better serve the cause of the people which has just renewed its confidence in him, than by using the authority conferred upon him by his victory in the Elections, to inaugurate a policy of prudence and moderation designed to safeguard, consistently with the free existence of Ireland, the principle of British Unity. In so doing, he would prove himself to be a real Statesman.'

This leader is probably inspired. It may be a pure coincidence but the writer having used 'l'Etat Libre d'Irlande' throughout, uses the word '1'Irlande' when he goes on to exhort President de Valera to safeguard the principle of British unity consistently with our 'free existence'.

[signed] Count Gerald O'Kelly de Gallagh
Minister Plenipotentiary

1 Handwritten marginal note: 'Seen by President'.

2 Irish general election, 24 January 1933.

3 French journalist.

Purchase Volumes Online

Purchase Volumes Online



The Royal Irish Academy's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series has published an eBook of confidential correspondence on the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.

Free Download

International Counterparts

The international network of Editors of Diplomatic Documents was founded in 1988. Delegations from different parts of the world met for the first time in London in 1989.
Read more ....

Website design and developed by FUSIO